If you want to be successful, you really do need to nail your branding. A way to differentiate your business and make it memorable, your brand is far more than just your logo and colour palette. It offers a means for people to connect with your business, provides a sense of security and credibility and can have significant financial and non-financial benefits for your business – so it’s fundamental to get it right. And who better to take branding advice from than the multi-award-winning David Aaker?
Deemed the Father of Modern Branding, the creator of numerous widely used branding frameworks and of course, the author of some of the most influential branding literature, David Aaker certainly knows a thing or two about building successful brands. Today we will be summarising some of the key takeaways from his book ‘Building Strong Brands’ to provide your business with the knowledge needed to transform your brand strategy.
Starting at the very beginning, you need to first work on defining your brand identity. This consists of four key areas, each of which is outlined below:
- Brand as product: this refers to the functional, emotional and self-expressive benefits, value/quality associations and intended users (to name just a few).
- Brand as person: here you should personify your brand; think about your tone of voice, personality and the type of relationship you have with your customers (for example would you be considered to be more of a friend or an adviser). Having a clearly defined brand personality will not only help you to better connect with your customers, but will also help to provide a point of differentiation for your brand and in turn, will help to strengthen your brand identity.
- Brand as organisation: think about the organisational values and attributes that define your brand, for example, innovation or drive for equality.
- Brand as symbol: this is what most people will think of when you mention brand; it’s your visual identity and includes everything from your typeface and colour palette to your logo and imagery.
Your value proposition should consist of emotional, functional and self-expressive benefits. This is perhaps where some B2B brands fall short, as there tends to be more of a focus on functional benefits, when in fact emotional and self-expressive are just as (if not, more) important. It’s also important to note that the benefits must be relevant to your target customer; if they aren’t showing you can bring value to them, it’s unlikely they will pay attention.
Every brand needs a clear position; this is essentially what you do and who you do it for. The reason this is so fundamental is that it not only helps to differentiate your business and demonstrate competitive advantage but also leads the way for your communications, providing focus and a means to develop a meaningful narrative.
If you take the time to build a powerful brand, it will stand the test of time. A coherent and consistent brand is far more memorable than one that is constantly changing and will help to strengthen your position and cut costs in the long run. Of course, inevitably, there will be changes in the macro-environment over time, but if your brand is strong enough, your meaning and message should have the power to remain consistent. So, rather than completing rebranding, you should perhaps think of a clever way to evolve and alter your current brand (providing it hasn’t been completely unsuccessful).
A successful brand will often be one of the most valuable assets a business can own; so it makes perfect sense to leverage it, and this can be done in various ways including:
- Line extensions
- Brand extensions
Brand equity is essentially the value your brand brings to your organisation – so it’s important to continuously monitor it. When it comes to tracking your brand equity, you should monitor numerous areas, including the following:
- Brand awareness: simply put, this is how familiar people are with your brand. There are several ways to measure awareness, including surveys and social mentions.
- Brand loyalty factors: considers accessibility, value, satisfaction, emotional connection and use of other brands.
- Financial metrics: here you should consider factors such as market share, price premium, growth rate and revenue generation and potential.
There is a tendency to pull investment if a brand is not meeting financial goals, but many would do well to remember that it takes time for both consumers to get used to the concept and the brand itself to master the execution. Of course, you can expect changes to occur over time, but unless something is really not working, you should try to avoid giving up on concepts completely.
Whilst we have covered a lot of areas, we have merely scratched the surface when it comes to the specifics for each – and believe it or not, there are still several areas left untouched – so if you are interested in finding out more, contact us today for a free consultation, or head over to our digital marketing page to see the other services we can offer to help your business grow.